Happiness is…

Hiyee! :)

October’s flying by so quickly, but I had to drop by and share with you even just a smattering of my month’s joys.

HAPPINESS IS… My mom getting well;

My family and I are so grateful to all of you who’ve prayed with us, visited, offered help during that crazy week (like bringing over alternative medicine like that Tauataua drink shown above).

We’re touched that you continue to check up on her progress even after that ordeal. She’s very well, thanks. You may just bump into her at her favorite mall ;)

Ilocos empanada from Empanada Nation

HAPPINESS IS … Trying out something new with B;

I know we both should be worried about our diets, especially since the wedding’s slowly creeping up. But this one’s the bomb!

* And if you’re still concerned: thanks. I had oatmeal and fruit the next day ;)

HAPPINESS IS… Sharing my love for arts+crafts;

Since her mom wanted a fun, yet unusual, art activity for her child’s guests, I was tapped to prepare the materials and activities for my first (and my sweetest!) student’s birthday party.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to join the party (as I was at the hospital attending to my mom), but I did have a kick out of preparing for Hannah and her friends!

Thanks Bo-peep for letting me be part of Hannah’s big day! I’m glad they enjoyed :)

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B distracts me with dinner (and it worked)

Hey there!

Oh how’ve ya been? I missed you!

Here, lemme give you a hug :)

 

There. Got that?

 

I’m awfully sorry for the cyber silence. I’ve been really unlucky lately (ok, unlucky a lot) with my internet connection at home.

So last weekend, while waiting for our broadband provider to actually provide, B took me out for dinner and some retail therapy.

We first checked out the newly opened Muji store here in Manila. I wasn’t planning on spending much; we were just after the chocolate-peanut clusters, only to find that the store didn’t carry them yet. So I found myself picking up some shirts, stationery and grabbing their sweet-smelling hand lotion.

Muji had a long queue that night, but I spent the time instead befriending the guy behind me and asking him about what he got  :) When it was my turn at the cashier, I was surprised to learn that my bill was more than what I expected. After settling my purchase, I went through my receipt and lo, I realized I spent a fortune on THE sweet-smelling hand lotion!

I thought the lotion’s price read PHP55 when I grabbed it off the shelf, but instead it was PHP595. (?!?!) Doh! Stupid, stupid me!

And so before I succumbed to buyer’s remorse, B treated me and my bourgeois mandarin&lemon-scented hands to a wonderful Vietnamese dinner at Zao.

What we had: Spicy Lemongrass Tofu, Salt + Pepper Calamari, and Cahn Chua (sweet, sour and spicy tamarind soup – we got Mekong fish instead of shrimp)

To B: Many, many thanks for the lovely dinner treat. You know, keeping me warm and holding my hand all evening were more than enough to distract silly me from my crazy purchases.

Well, OK. I’m not being totally honest. While you were at the loo I had time to test the marker I got that night.  Heehee.

And now back to you, dear friends: Like I said earlier, I’ve missed you. I hope all’s well with you. Hopefully I’d get to post more often. Hopefully my internet connection will finally remain up to snuff… And should you need a crazy shopping bud at Muji, do let me know – I’m coming back for the markers that guy had in his basket ;)

More hugs!

– P.

Muji skin care photo via Shopping Finds

Busy, busy September so far!

… AND WE’RE BACK! How we’ve missed you! :)

Somewhere in between his work and my doctor’s visits and physical therapy sessions, B and I have been busy with the following:

1. Giving in to my food cravings!

SHIOK. 01-05 Fort Forum Bldg., Bonifacio Stop Over, 31st and 2nd St, Bonifacio Global City. (L-R: Interiors, Iced milk tea, Char Kway Teow, Steamed Fish Fillet-Lunch portion)

It’s not the prettiest of places and air-conditioning seems to always be a problem, but it’s not called “shiok” (Singaporean slang for satisfying) for nothing. B and I have kept on coming back here for hawker fare, and I find myself asking time and again for their Char Kway Teow. Shiok’s service is fast, with relatively inexpensive food that keeps my belly happy.

ST. GERALD’S COFFEE SHOP. 2/F P & E Building 12 United Street Corner First St., Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig. (L-R: Baked macaroni, Taco + Egg mayo sandwich)

The first time I was here with B (some 2 years ago), I remember being floored. The piping-hot baked macaroni was oozing with beef and cheese, and I remember telling myself to come back someday for its tacos and sans rival. (I was too busy enjoying the food, I forgot to mind the pretty interiors.)

Well after one rehab session, B and I finally returned to this pretty coffee shop and we left disappointed. While the macaroni’s portions were just as I remembered it, I couldn’t find the overflowing beef and cheese. The beef wasn’t in B’s taco either, and while in the past those ‘executive meals’ would come with a slice of cake, this time it came with a cookie (to be fair, it was a good cookie, but B and I were expecting to have our cake). Pshaw. We left a bit hungry still, and I grabbed my coffee someplace else.

ANCIS’ CUISINE BY ALBERGUS. Gilmore Ave. cor N. Domingo, San Juan. (L-R: Squid Sisig, Puso ng Saging, Bangus Steak)

For a while now, B and I’ve noticed this little nook on our way home from work. We’d usually decide against trying it out, given the limited parking that area has and the horrible traffic we’d experience along Gilmore during rush hour.

So after heading home early one day, we finally got our chance. Ancis’ Cuisine serves inexpensive home-cooked Filipino dishes in solo (good for one) and buddy (good for B :) portions. Since its meals were designed for individuals and small families residing in the condo-packed vicinity, they’re packed in microwaveable dishes and nuked if one opted to dine-in.

B and I decided to take our orders home, and we were happiest with our bangus steaks. The squid sisig had lots of tofu (that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion) and the squid was cooked just right (a really good thing). I was also surprised with their puso ng saging, since I’ve never had it with coconut milk before. Yum :) We look forward to trying out their other dishes. The best part? We found out that night that they deliver!

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Where we hang.

B and I got to know each other more because of our mutual fondness of food and trying something new.

But over time, we noticed that there are places that became our default spots. Here are 3 that we’d go to for quick fixes or to while away the time.

Whoo-ooo? Whe-eere?

Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes

One, Two along Katipunan Ave. and another in Tomas Morato, all in Quezon City

When in need of comfort (and likewise feeling lucky with seating, as this resto never seems to run out of customers) – we’d seek the fast, hot and carbo-loaded meals of Banapple.

Dishes here are meant to be shared (unless what we’re going through at time of visit is truly major – like, major, major).

Fill the tummy, fill the spirit.

Their meals are so hearty that we usually don’t have enough room in our tummies for dessert – which is alright, since we’re not big fans of their desserts.*

* One exception – their double chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. Have it warmed up before serving, then take a bite of its melted gooey goodness and wash it down with tea (or milk, but I’m lactose intolerant).

Like a snug hug in yer belly.

3 Hot Meals and Cookie pictures from the Banapple Kitchen website.

Dezato Cafe

100 Dona Hemady St., New Manila, Quezon City

OK. So maybe their meals are somewhat on the greasy side, seats are limited and one should expect to leave the cafe smelling like the cafe given its poor exhaust system.

Shiny, shimmering, splendid.

But their mochi desserts are one-of-a-kind, and I just can’t get enough of their green tea ice cream-filled versions.

Mochi Madness from Dezato

It also helps that it serves cheap, decent coffee in big heaping cups AND it’s the cafe nearest my house!

Caf-Pow in a mug! :P

Nomnomnom Happy Food

Unit 2 Lower G/F, GYY Bldg., 1 Tomas Morato cor. E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City

We first noticed Nomnomnom after we ate at the “world class” kabab place above it. Intrigued by its name, offerings (they serve popcorn with hemp seeds, among other things) and how they were cleverly named (such as VST for “Very Succulent Tomatoes” and Talong and Lasting Love) , we gave it a try.

Since our first visit (pre-renovation), we’ve been coming back for its ultra-thick, sauce-like soups (warning: you won’t be able to finish a bowl!) and its Tinapa Pizza. Yum. :)

Nomnomnom's Malinomnom Pizza

While you won’t hear us rave about all the dishes we’ve tried at Nomnomnom, we do recommend a visit. If you’d like to avoid the college crowd, avoid it on weekends or come in for dinner early, and save your dessert for another place within the area. They do hold events regularly, so for a listing please check out their blog.

You may also want to dilute the soup you just had with drinks at Guzzler (at the back of the Shell Station beside GYY, and if you’re still hungry they’ve got excellent beer chow too).

So where’s your “usual?”